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Prevalence of superbugs may suggest hospital negligence

California patients seek out the care of hospitals to heal what ails them, whether a broken bone or an infection. Frighteningly, a new study reveals that patients leaving hospitals may actually be leaving with serious illnesses, specifically germ-resistant superbugs. Superbugs, which can also be spread by hospital staff and contaminated medical instruments, are microbial in nature and are drug resistant. They include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and resistant gram-negative bacilli.

A recent study by University of Michigan researchers found that almost 25 percent of the patients in their study were discharged with a superbug on their hands. These patients were discharged to post-acute care facilities, including rehabilitation centers or nursing homes. To test the study participants, researchers swabbed patients' fingers, as well as around their fingernails and palms, numerous times, including at their initial admission to the hospital. Significantly, even more patients acquired superbug germs when they were admitted to rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes, at over one-third of the patients.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 25 patients has caught an infection while being treated in a United States hospital. It is startling news that hospital staff are not able to control the prevalence of germs and superbugs in their facilities. According to the study's findings, it is common for patients to leave hospitals with germs on their hands that are resistant to drugs, and then to acquire more drug-resistant germs through the course of additional medical care.

If you have acquired a superbug in a hospital, nursing home or other medical facility, you may wish to seek the counsel of an attorney to discuss your legal options regarding a potential medical malpractice action and the availability of compensation. This is especially true if the infection or illness was caused by a medical professional's negligence.

Source: NBC News, "Patients Carry Superbugs on Their Hands, Study Finds," Maggie Fox, March 14, 2016

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